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Hills Like White Elephants

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  10,374 ratings  ·  454 reviews
A conversation in a Spanish cafe between a man and a woman that is not as simple as it seems.
Paperback, 6 pages
Published August 1927
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Jessica A man and a woman have a seemingly innocuous conversation. He's trying to convince her to action, but she must ultimately decide for herself.
Daisy Hills like White Elephants story has only 4 Pages.

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Average rating 3.92  · 
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 ·  10,374 ratings  ·  454 reviews

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A couple. A bar. A health condition of some sort. And a small research done by a reader to understand what was going on, exactly. Mere descriptions of actions and dialogue were not enough. But the reader doesn't blame the author for her lack of perception. A detached author that seems to barely know them.
A foreign in their lands.

Economy of the words. Emotions, all over the place. In silence. They have lost their names yet their presence is still felt.

Something breaks.

"We can have the whole
Apr 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"I wanted to try this new drink. That's all we do, isn't itlook at things and try new drinks?"
Ernest Hemingway ~~ Hills Like White Elephants


Hills Like White Elephants may be the best example of Hemingway's Iceberg Theory. Hemingway contends that the words on the page should be merely a small part of the whole story. The words on the page are the proverbial "tip of the iceberg," and a writer should use as few words as possible in order to indicate the larger, unwritten story that resides below
Oct 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012-read, ebooks
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
One of Hemingway's best short stories.
Jun 04, 2013 rated it did not like it
Hemingway's dumb ass short story about a woman about to get Lasik surgery. The man informs her he cares enough about her to stay with her even if she doesn't want to do it, and would rather keep her glasses. But with her glasses she's like someone else. She doesn't look like the woman he fell in love with. He doesn't want someone else, he wants her.

Since there's nothing in the story that proves it can't be about Lasik surgery, or that it's about something stupid like abortion, it's absolutely
Nov 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-for-college
3.5 stars

A memorable and well-written short story about a man pressuring a woman into getting an abortion. "Hills Like White Elephants" showcases Hemingway's writing at its best: clipped, elusive, yet packed with clues that make you want to discover more. Hemingway's characters say a lot without saying much at all, which makes some of his works bland and unbearable, but that style of dialogue works well in this short story. He captures the conflict inherent within difficult conversations and how
Asghar Abbas
Jun 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing

Now This Is Writing in all its traditional glory, basic stuff that actually gleams and not crumbles in your hands like dross. This is what writing, what Words, is all about. Right here, this is how it's done people. With simplicity, Hemingway allows you to see his simple genius. With bare words he bares everything; gives you his all but that's actually just a glimpse, and therein lies his true mastery. He lets you in, sure but he makes you keep all of it, while you think what you've been given
Mia (Parentheses Enthusiast)
I'm quite unsure how to rate this little anecdote, because I'm pretty positive that it's a conversation about whether or not the girl (view spoiler). I feel like that's kind of an easy thing to realise, though, and the description of this work is that it's a conversation that "isn't as it seems" so is there a deeper meaning? What did I miss?

I'm off to read some analyses, which will probably tell me that I'm wrong.


EDIT: I'm back! I read a few
Olivia-Savannah  Roach
Jan 09, 2019 rated it did not like it
I didn't get what it meant until I looked it up.
I didn't care about the story. There was no imagery, no intrigue, no interest in the characters.
The symbolism of the white elephants would've been nice if I'd understood what it meant, maybe. Too subtle?

Read for university.
Sep 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I love Hemingway's approach to writing. I think it takes an excellent writer to use mainly dialogue to present each characters personality without using narrative. I also enjoy the symbolism throughout the story. One in particular (view spoiler) I enjoy ...more
Savina M.
I had to read this for Creative Writing class, and it just flew right over my head.

I can see the potential behind the story, I get why people love it, but I guess I'm just too young to appreciate this stuff.
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
Ford Maddox Ford, whom I consider to be one of the greatest writers who almost caused my hospitalization for boredom, said of Hemingway's writing style: "Hemingway's words strike you, each one, as if they were pebbles fetched fresh from a brook. They live and shine, each in its place."

Here is another typical Hemingway story built on dialogue. A man and a woman, obviously lovers, most likely unmarried, in a railway station in a valley with white hills shaped like elephants somewhere in Spain.
Sara Jovanovic
Mar 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Probably the story that will make me reach for Hemingway's works more often. I liked the simplicity of writing and the powerful imagery he creates using so little words. It was vivid and evocative. I think this will stay with me for some time.
Rachel Nicole Wagner
Aug 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
I'm always so impressed with Hemingway's way of writing. This is just another great short story that proves what a great writer he was.
Mar 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is possibly the only of Hemingway's works that I loved!
Difficult to understand, yes, but not so that you just give up on it after three tries and then google it.
(view spoiler)
Joshua Lester (Lord of Books)
Jan 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-reads
Nota bene: Ernest Hemingway brought this story deeply. It's quite interesting and symbolic.
The story made me feel like passing by the table of this couple right in the middle of their conversation. I felt like there might be something wrong with the woman & the man was trying to be supportive. There was no beginning nor ending. It was just that & yet it was worth being heard...
May 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Sometimes in your life you will be all alone, there are people around you , saying that they care about you, but they really don't.
When you've done something wrong, but it's not just your fault and there are people deciding for you to do what, like in this story which is an ended relationship, although you're not aware that it is.
The time when you want to keep the relationship, but they just want you as an object.
Pallavi Sareen
Apr 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It baffles my mind how a story written so simply could have such a deep impact and meaning behind it. By removing the unnecessary details from it, Hemingway gave it more depth.
Jan 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Read for Expository Writing.

I do believe it was my first experience reading Hemingway. It's a melancholy tale, but a nice lesson in the art of subtlety.
Sep 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Hills like white elephants is a really good short story. The story takes place in a train station between two destinations. A couple who are waiting for the train which comes in 40 minutes. They drink beer and talk about an operation that the girl is going to have, the name of the operation is not mentioned. At first it was a little bit confusing to understand the conversation between these two, but what I liked the most is the meaning behind the sentences. That can happen in our life, too.
catherine ♡
Aug 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
This is one of those stories you cant really appreciate unless youve drowned yourself in all sorts of analyses and interpretations. After that, its quite a treasure. ...more
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was really really short, but it still was so good and symbolic.
عماد العتيلي
Dec 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018-reads

Excellent, but ... I do not know why I didn't like it that much!
Feb 05, 2012 rated it really liked it

I found myself having to read Hemingway's "Hills Like White Elephants" more than once to figure out what was truly going on beyond just the text presented. Before we meet our main characters, we find out that they are waiting at a train station in-between two destinations. I find that there is more to this than meets the eye; why are they directly in-between hills that were "long and white" on one side and "no shade and no trees" on the other side. Their location supports their dilemma; our main
Hills like White Elephants is an excellent short story written by Earnest Hemmingway. Composed almost entirely of dialogue, it captures a conversation between an American man and the girl that he is traveling with. Due to the tone of the conversation and several hints given by Hemmingway, I concluded that this was the story of a man trying to convince his young lover to abort her unplanned pregnancy. The first indication that I saw of this was in Hemmingways choice of names for his characters. ...more
Feb 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Ernest Hemmingways Hills Like White Elephants presented itself to me as a piece that needed to be read several times. By this I do not mean it was difficult to comprehend, or the situation particularly perplexing, but rather its depth became increasingly underestimated. As I read the story the first time, I saw an emotional struggle between two people. The second, I saw a deeper decision being made between the lives of these fictional characters. The third time, however, I started to see an over ...more
Yashira Avendano
Feb 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Unlike any other story, Hills like White Elephants chose to follow a path of many choices. At first, I didnt really realize this until I read it twice. It was then that I realized about the operation. Abortion was a choice that had to be done among the couple. Even though the girl was put into pressure through the man since she didnt know what to do. All that matter to her was pleasuring the man and not caring whether it would make an impact in her life. She once mentioned how she would do it ...more
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
My English class and I had a great discussion over this short story. I greatly appreciate the symbolic value behind this story, specifically concerning the roles of men and women, and the pressures society associated with them.
Jun 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
The opening paragraph alone sets the scene in a style that is very much Hemingway's; one that's all about the facts and the directness of language. Considering that I hadn't experienced such a writing style before, I still very much enjoyed it. What seems to be a natural and banal conversation at first, holds deep waters and explores Hemingway's use of masculinity and power distance. Where it is the writer's job to stick to the surface, it is up to the reader to decode lines like "There is ...more
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Ernest Miller Hemingway was an American author and journalist. His economical and understated style had a strong influence on 20th-century fiction, while his life of adventure and his public image influenced later generations. Hemingway produced most of his work between the mid-1920s and the mid-1950s, and won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. He published seven novels, six short story ...more

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“That's all we do, isn't it -- look at things and try new drinks?” 13 likes
“I wanted to try this new drink: That’s all we do, isn’t it—look at things and try new drinks?” 0 likes
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